Sometimes known as “Double-Hand poker”, Pai Gow poker is an Americanised version of Pai Gow which is played using poker hand rankings with playing cards, whereas traditional Pai Gow is played with Chinese Dominoes. The version of Pai Gow Poker we play online are credited as the inventions of Fred Wolf and Sam Torosian.
In this guide, I will teach the basics to help you play Pai Gow Poker online, reputedly one of the most exciting and interesting poker variation games out there, as well as hints and tips to make sure that when you play Pai Gow Poker online, you play to win!
The game of Pai Gow Poker is simple, and played with the standard 52-card deck including a single joker. Usually it is played on a table set for six players, but when you play Pai Gow Poker online it can be just yourself against the banker, with games also available to play against other players online, as well as the banker.
The computer shuffles the cards into a random pattern, and then deals them to the table in piles of seven cards face down. Regardless of how many people that play Pai Gow Poker online, there are always four cards left unused.
To win the game, the player has to create two poker hands using the seven cards he is dealt in his hand comprising of:
A five-card poker hand and A two-card poker hand.
The biggest hand, the five-card poker hand, must be better than the two-card hand.
Often the two-card hand is referred to as the hand “in front” or “on top” or the “minor hand”, with the five-card hand referred to as the “bottom or “big” hand, as they will be placed that way on the screen once the player has decided how to set them.
The only two-card hands are one pair and high cards.
Once the player and other players, if applicable, have separated their hands, the banker will show his cards. If they have beaten the bankers hand then they win the bet. If just the one of the player’s hands beats the banker then he will push. If both of his hands loses to the banker then he will lose, then lose again.
Ties on each hand go to the banker, which gives the banker a small advantage when you play Pai Gow Poker online.
Tips and Tricks
Winning hands when you play Pai Gow Poker online are the same as standard poker hands, but with the added challenge of having two separate hands. Playing these to your advantage can be tricky, especially with the fact your larger hand, your “big” hand, must be better than your “minor” two-card hand.
The best tip to a beginner to Pai Gow Poker is that you learn all the possible hands in poker, so that you don’t miss a single trick. After that, the best strategy is to try and create the highest two-card hand you possibly can without ruining your chances with your five-card hand.